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joyces (@joyces)

Major Changes as Spouses Age

Aging Well | Last Active: Oct 23, 2020 | Replies (51)

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Actually, because Marty was a brittle diabetic before we got married 34 years ago, I've been a sort of caregiver since even before we were married, so that wasn't really much different. In fact, I was amazed at how few additional things I was required to do. I'd love to ease up on the caregiving activities, but each time I refuse to serve, there's an ugly shouting match. I hate dissent, so avoid those as much as possible. I use up my entire tolerance for ugliness by trying to get him to walk a short distance at least once a day. If I had more backbone, I'd insist that he do the list of suggested PT exercises, too…but I just can't tolerate that much fighting. It's also disappointing that, after all the years I've cared for him, cooked to meet the demands of his diet, he's never been willing to do anything similar for me. During the four years I was actively ill with Meniere's, I worked more than full time, did the housekeeping and the yard work. Ditto when I had cancer, ditto now that the Meniere's monster has returned. As my daughter has always said, "life isn't fair, not even a small picnic."

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Replies to "Actually, because Marty was a brittle diabetic before we got married 34 years ago, I've been..."

@joyces What I am about to say may be taken a few different ways, by many. I am speaking from my own personal experience, and am not lecturing, nor telling you what to do. It comes from a place of concern for both of you. People are creatures of habit. We get used to doing certain things, and even enhancing that. Those actions are not always a positive.

Doing for others can be seen as a sign of partnership, of love, of wanting to help. But sometimes what we see as being helpful, can be the other person taking advantage of you. As it escalates, each one loses their true self in the spiral. I have been there/done that/got the T-shirt! The one doing becomes resentful, angry, exhausted. The one receiving may also become resentful, angry, and exhausted. Changing the behaviors that have become habit is very hard, but not not doable. But it takes both parties to want to make that effort. Without cooperation and working together to be better able to have a good relationship, it won't happen. Stating limits will no doubt cause frustration as a new normal slowly evolves. That frustration may come out as irritation, ignoring the other, shouting matches, slammed doors, etc. One thing I never allowed was physical abuse. And when I tried to make the changes to a more balanced relationship, and received no support/effort from the other person, I had to make the decision to stay or go, for my own well-being. That simple. Because I had to value myself more.

Was it easy? Heck, no. Did it all take a toll on me? Oh, you bet! Physically, mentally, emotionally, financially. But having made the decision to have a healthier relationship, I tried what I could to accomplish my side of things. Was it worth it? Yes!

He won't change unless you do, too.